The Other Side – Early Months

We had our baby girl.  She was beautiful in our eyes, but I could tell there was something not quite right with my baby.  Having never had any experience with a newborn before, I thought a lot of what I was dealing with would resolve itself with age.

CB seemed very stiff and tense.  She definitely had what I, at the time, described as a kink in her neck.  She had a hard time nursing.  It was like she was constantly fighting the position I was holding her in.  Finding comfort was very difficult for CB.  She hated pacifiers.  She was miserable laying down on any sort of incline.  Bouncy seats were torture devices.  Laying on her tummy was guaranteed tears.  BC’s favorite position to be in was flat, on the floor, or in her crib.  Laying in this position, with her neck in the same position, led to a very misshapen head, BUT I was still in a form of denial.  I didn’t want to know that there was anything wrong with my baby.  I had no knowledge whatsoever of plagiocephaly (head flattening).

What made matters worse was the fact, that at her 2 month appointment, Fish and I took CB to an idiot of a doctor who said there was nothing wrong with her.  That CB was turning her head in what is called the Fencing Reflex.

Later, some family members shared with us their disappointment with that doctor’s visit.  They didn’t know how to approach us with such a sensitive topic and they thought that the doctor would address all of these issues.  Instead, we got a clean bill of health and were sent home in an ignorant state of bliss.  “See honey, there was nothing to worry about!”

By 3 months CB was completely out of her newborn drowsiness and she was acutely aware of sound.  SOUND. All sound was difficult to process.  CB’s reaction to noise was at first agitation.  The agitation would lead to crying, which would eventually lead to a complete meltdown.  The meltdowns were very difficult to deal with.  She would scream at the top of her lungs, her whole body tensed, her eyes closed.  Even if her eyes were open, it wouldn’t matter.  She was somewhere else during these episodes.  There was very little I could do to calm her.  Most of the time, it felt like she didn’t even know I was there.  She was in her own nightmare that I couldn’t save her from.  All mothers want to hold and comfort their children out of being upset.  This wasn’t an option for me.  CB rarely liked to be held, as it was.  when she was upset, a hug or a kiss would infuriate her.  She would push me away.  Scream more, cry more.  Hate me more.

Yes, that was my irrational place during these months.  My baby hated me.  Why else would she be this way?  I loved her so very much, but there wasn’t much left for me to do to show it.

Sounds that would send CB into crying fits were: sneezing, laughing, crinkling of paper, opening a soda can, the vacuum, loud places, dishes being washed, animated talkers, loud talkers, ice poured into a glass.  I can’t make a list really.  All sound was a problem.  Fish and I knew that every outing we took would include at least one outburst.  I didn’t want to hide from the world though.  I knew that we had to expose our baby to her world around her, no matter how painful we knew it would be.

At home I tried to make her surroundings a little more “safe”.  All toys were soft.  If any of her plastic toys clanked together she would meltdown.  It happened enough times, I finally got rid of all plastic toys.  I had to disable all the electronic sounds on the remaining toys.  Sensitivity to noise continued through CB’s fifth birthday.  Now, at 8, she still is sensitive but can work through most situations that are noisy.

By 4 months nursing had ended.  CB fought it so much, I gave up.  She still hated to be held and that amount of closeness, for the amount of time it took to nurse, proved to be too much for her.  By now we did find one item that she was comfortable sitting in, a swing.  Later we also found that she was comfortable in a baby rocker.  Both of the swing and the rocker were able to keep her in more of an upright position, as opposed to the bouncy seat that had much more of an incline.  CB also like sitting in her high chair.

At CB’s 4 month appointment we began to get some answers.  We saw a nurse practitioner who, by the way, was a VERY LOUD TALKER.  CB screamed through th entire visit.  The nurse practitioner acknowledged that CB’s head was definitely misshapen.  Looking at her head from a bird’s-eye view it was almost starting to look triangular, with a very visible flattening from middle back to just in front of her left ear.  We received a diagnosis of torticollis and Plagiocephaly (head flattening).  We were given a referral to a Pediatric Physical Therapist to loosen her neck muscles.  We also made an appointment with a Neurologist.  Hopefully the Neurologist would have more information on how to improve the shape of CB’s head.

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